Michaelmas daisies are a stalwart of our borders in late summer and autumn, and there’s a colour to suit every garden – they come in shades of white, blue, purple and pink.
They look great in cottage gardens but also work in more contemporary schemes – they associate well with ornamental grasses. They’re extremely popular with bees and butterflies, too.
Until recently, Michaelmas daisies were known as asters, but their scientific name has changed, and many popular varieties are now known as Symphyotrichum.
Discover eight essential border daisies.
Michaelmas daisies enjoy well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Here are 12 of the best to grow.
Aster tongolensis ‘Beggarten’
Unlike many of its taller cousins, Aster tongolensis ‘Beggarten’ is compact and clump-forming – ideal for the front of a border. It starts flowering in midsummer and will continue until the first frosts.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii Tonga (‘Dasfour’) (Island Series)
‘Tonga’ is one of the ‘Island Series’ of Michelmas daisy – a range compact varieties that look good at the front of a border, or in a container.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii Samoa (‘Dasthree’) (Island Series)
Another of the compact Island series, ‘Samoa’ has purple flowers with bright yellow centres.
Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’
‘Little Carlow’ is very popular, and deservedly so – it produces masses of vibrant, violet-blue flowers over a long period and is resistant to powdery mildew. Reaching around 90cm tall, it’s ideal for the middle of a border.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Lady in Blue’
Another compact variety, ‘Lady in Blue’ is ideal for the front of a border, where it will flower for weeks.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Chatterbox’
This bushy clump-former is another compact variety, and is an unusual powder pink.
Eurybia x herveyi
Previously known as Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ or Aster herveyi , Eurybia x herveyi is a popular choice as it’s resistant to mildew, which can be a problem on some varieties in damp summers. It has a profusion of flowers in late summer.
Symphyotrichum laeve ‘Calliope’
Formerly known as Aster laevis ‘Calliope’, this statuesque aster reaches almost 2m tall, making it a plant for the back of a border. The eye-catching black stems give it a contemporary look.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Algar’s Pride’
‘Algar’s Pride’ is a striking plant that has large single lavender-blue flowers. It usually flowers late in the season. It’s a tall variety (around 150cm tall) and is best for the back of the border.
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Royal Ruby’
The slender stems of ‘Royal Ruby’ are topped with maroon, almost red flowers with yellow centres. This compact variety is a vibrant choice for the front of a border or a container.
Symphyotrichum ‘Coombe Fishacre’
‘Coombe Fishacre’ has dark green foliage and sprays of small lilac-pink daisies. They have unusual with brown-pink centres. It’s a medium size, reaching between 50cm to 1m tall.
Symphyotrichum ‘Ochtendgloren’ (pilosum var pringlei hybrid)
Previously known as Aster ‘Ochtendgloren’ (pringlei hybrid), this tall aster, which reaches around 1.4m high, is a pretty choice for the back of a border.